Examples of decentralisation in action highlighted during Swiss-Albanian cooperation event

The Ministry of Interior and the Embassy of Switzerland emphasise the results and challenges in decentralisation during an event that marks 20 years of cooperation in this area

At a joint event between the Ministry of Interior and the Embassy of Switzerland, several examples of results were presented, as part of marking 20 years of Swiss-Albanian cooperation to deepen decentralisation and strengthen local governance.

“We have a big focus on local finances and I take the opportunity to thank again the Swiss government and the embassy for the project it provides to the Ministry for Finance on local finances and with which we cooperate”, said Deputy Minister of Interior Romina Kuko. “We have discussed broadly for the action plan of the decentralisation strategy and we have tried to have this plan not just as a document on paper but as a guide that leads us in the short term but also in the long term. At our thematic group on decentralisation we have agreed to have a plan for 2021, that includes our partners”, added Deputy Minister Kuko.

“When done in a coherent and comprehensive way, decentralisation means sharing political power between central and local level and delegating competences as well as financial resources to municipalities. Decentralisation brings better services for citizens and the private sector, and overall more prosperity for a country. And: Decentralisation contributes substiantally to the important priority of the Public Administration Reform, agreed between Albania and the EU”, said Swiss Ambassador Adrian Maître.

Three examples of decentralisation in action were presented, including the establishment of One Stop Shops in Shkodër and Lezhë, social care services in Lushnje, and the renovated water supply in Lezhë.

“Our starting point regarding the One Stop Shops – with your support – was that the citizen be as close as possible to local authorities. There were three essential components in 2010-2011: a local governance for citizens, transparency and accountability, and services that are as close as possible and as fast as possible for the citizen”, said Petrit Markut, former head of commune, Kallmet, Lezhë.

Over 40 participants joined via Zoom and discussed further actions needed in order to make decentralisation more effective. The publication that summarises 20 years of Swiss support in decentralisation can be found at: https://www.eda.admin.ch/countries/albania/en/home/international-cooperation/publications-multimedia.html

Switzerland has assisted Albania for over 20 years in its efforts to consolidate local democracy and further the process of decentralising power from the central government to the local ones.

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